Buffalo Unbound: A Celebration

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Overview

Writing about the economic collapse and social unrest of her 1970s childhood in Buffalo, New York, Laura Pedersen was struck by how things were finally improving in her beloved hometown. As 2008 began, Buffalo was poised to become the thriving metropolis it had been a hundred years earlier?only instead of grain and steel, the booming industries now included health care and banking, education and technology. Folks who'd moved away due to lack of opportunity in the 1980s talked excitedly about returning home. They ...

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Buffalo Unbound: A Celebration

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Overview

Writing about the economic collapse and social unrest of her 1970s childhood in Buffalo, New York, Laura Pedersen was struck by how things were finally improving in her beloved hometown. As 2008 began, Buffalo was poised to become the thriving metropolis it had been a hundred years earlier—only instead of grain and steel, the booming industries now included health care and banking, education and technology. Folks who'd moved away due to lack of opportunity in the 1980s talked excitedly about returning home. They missed the small-town friendliness, and it wasn't nostalgia for a past that no longer existed—Buffalo has long held the well-deserved nickname the City of Good Neighbors. The diaspora has ended. Preservationists are winning out over demolition crews. The lights are back on in a city that's usually associated with blizzards and blight rather than its treasure trove of art, architecture, and culture. Buffalo Unbound is a humorous and heartfelt look at the rise, fall, and rebirth of the great Rust Belt city.

Laura Pedersen is the author of ten books, including Beginner's Luck and Buffalo Gal, which won Best Memoir from ForeWord Magazine and an honorable mention for the Eric Hoffer Award. Honored as one of Ten Outstanding Young Americans by President Clinton, Pedersen was the youngest person to have a seat on the American Stock Exchange. Pedersen currently lives in New York City and teaches at the Booker T. Washington Learning Center in East Harlem, but also maintains a place in Amherst.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Although rife with in–jokes for Buffalo locals, making it a must–read for East Coasters, Buffalo Unbound abounds with entertainment, along with many riveting facts, for those who have never experienced the area firsthand. Pedersen's essays are love letters to her favorite city—seemingly penned by a cross between anthropologist Margaret Mead and the likes of Dave Barry. —Terry Shannon, Book Reporter.com

"Buffalo Unbound is a humorous and heartfelt look at the rise, fall, and rebirth of the great Rust Belt city." —USA Book News

Buffalo Unbound was a finalist for the International Book Awards in the Humor category.

Buffalo Unbound was a finalist for the 2011 International Book Awards in the Travel Essay category.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555917357
  • Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/1/2010
  • Pages: 196
  • Sales rank: 685,879
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Pedersen

Laura Pedersen is the author of ten books, including Beginner’s Luck and Buffalo Gal. She was the youngest columnist for The New York Times and, prior to that, the youngest person to have a seat on the American Stock Exchange. Honored as one of Ten Outstanding Young Americans by President Clinton, Pedersen currently lives in New York City, but also maintains a place in Amherst.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

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(7)

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(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 5, 2011

    Highly Recommended!!

    Buffalo Unbound is a story about the past and present of Buffalo. Recently listed as one of the worst cities to live in, Laura Pedersen strives to rectify peoples perceptions and doesn't she ever!!

    Buffalo is now one of my top places to visit when I get to the United States. Her humorous tone and her account of the history throws us into the pages and instead of just reading what Buffalo has to offer we experience it right along with author who obviously has a profound love for the place she grew up in.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2011

    Buffalo Forever

    What a fantastic tribute to a fantastic city. Laura Pedersen's book argues that there is no greater city than Buffalo, NY and does so in such a convincing manner that it made me want to find a way to move there. My roots are in Buffalo as my polish grandparents raised my mother there but she moved before I was born. What I knew of Buffalo was just from stories that my mother and Grandmother told me but alas they are not the story tellers that Ms. Pedersen is. She takes us along for a wonderful trip through the history, neighborhoods and myths of Buffalo and turns a city tribute into a page turner. Buffalo? Who would have thunk it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 29, 2011

    A Love Story

    I purchase this book because I was being recruited for a position with the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York and I knew very little about the city except that is was colder than a penguin's toe. In this book I found a Buffalo that I had never imagined. The author clearly loves her city and makes anyone who has made the decision to move to Buffalo feel as though they were making the best choice of their life. She presents Buffalo's treasures as the best kept secret around and this book reads like a love story to a beloved home town. Every city should have a devoted author such as Laura Pedersen to sing its glories.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2010

    an interesting and fun read

    Laura Pedersen's latest book, shines a bright new light on events in Buffalo's past and present. Told in Laura's unique and personal way, this book is a great read and a terrific gift for those who love the Queen City as much as she does.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Hilarious History, Great Read, Great Gift

    BUFFALO UNBOUND is a humorous retelling of Western New York history highlights that's like a combo of Sarah Vowell and David Sedaris. Pedersen talks about the city's peak around 1900, how things went into decline as auto and steel manufacturing moved overseas, and all the terrific things happening in the area today, including lots of medical, banking, and technology companies, along with a vibrant arts and culinary scene and a fantastic college town. Pedersen said she was prompted to write about all the positive aspects of living in and around Buffalo after Forbes Magazine recently ranked it as one of the most ten most miserable cities in which to live two years in a row. The last chapter of BUFFALO UNBOUND is absolutely terrific, where she explains why her hometown is called The City of Good Neighbors, and having lived in Buffalo for 20 years I can attest to the fact that the dry cleaner actually DOES return the money you left in your pocket and that Buffalonians are the friendliest and funniest and most spirited and most helpful people I've ever known. This is a great read whether you're from the area or not since Pedersen, a former New York Times columnist, has a wonderful sense of humor and does great riffs on how girls used to have to wear scratchy ill-fitting boys hand-me-down school soccer uniforms before Title IX and how a good storm gives you the best holiday memories and a hilarious recounting of the local Mafia that makes New Jersey's Sopranos look like beginners. After finishing BUFFALO UNBOUND I read BUFFALO GAL, her story of growing up in Western New York in the 1970s and the two are great bookends. The memoir won a couple of awards.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 16, 2012

    Great book about Buffalo

    My maternal grandparents grew up in Buffalo. I didn’t have an opportunity to get to know them before they passed on but my mom told me stories that they had shared about their hometown. I would like to go visit Buffalo and a friend recommended this book.

    The author is so passionate about her hometown. She shares stories of many people from Buffalo and tells their stories in an entertaining way, while showing how proud the people are of their city. She does an excellent job of telling the story of the city and its citizens. From its industrial peak to the loss of a lot of that industry to overseas manufacturers, she tells the history of Buffalo with passion and love.

    Her sense of humor keeps the history lesson interesting and kept me engaged in her story. Her way of telling the story is engaging and personal, which really helped me get the feel of the city and its residents. The history of our ancestors can at times be difficult to learn about, but I think that this book will help me in my journey to discover the lives of my ancestors.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2012

    Buffalo is kewl.

    I should know. I live there.

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  • Posted January 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A sweet love letter to Buffalo

    Laura Pedersen wrote a hilarious book titled Buffalo Gal, about her life growing up in the snowy city of Buffalo, New York in the 1970s. As I grew up in Auburn, New York, two hours away but just as snowy, I totally related to her stories of making your way through feet of snow to get anywhere.

    I literally doubled over with laughter at Pedersen's skewered sense of humor about her family, friends and hometown. Now she has written a new book, Buffalo Unbound, telling why Buffalo is such a great city.

    Buffalo has taken it's share of knocks over the years, losing industry, jobs, and population. But a turn around occurred when The New York Times ran a story a few years ago about people who were moving from New York City to Buffalo to take advantage of the inexpensive, spacious housing and opportunity that a city trying to recover affords young families.

    Pedersen recounts canceling her subscription to Forbes magazine after it ranked Buffalo #8 on its list of Top Ten Most Miserable Cities. She decides to give the reasons why this is not true by writing this book.

    She starts with the fact that since so many people have left Buffalo, there is plenty of room, and you never have to wait in line for anything. No traffic jams, no getting to the beach at sunrise to get a good spot.

    Buffalonians have always been tough, and Pedersen illustrates this by telling of Margaret St. John, who refused to move her nine children during the war of 1812 when the British were on the way to burn the town. The British general was impressed by St. John, and left her family home alone.

    Pedersen explains that her own neighbors also had nine children and went on family vacation just once in 30 years, and so she understands St. John's position perfectly. She wasn't taking all those kids anywhere.

    Buffalo has always been very staunchly Catholic, and the story of Father Baker explains this. In the late 1880s, Buffalo was beginning to discover pockets of natural gas. Father Baker got $2000 from his bishop and invited drillers from a gas company to come drill on church property.

    They struck gas, and the money from the wells went to provide services such as the Infant Home, Working Boys Home, and as the Great Depression struck, Father Baker was able to provide food, medical care and clothing for hundreds of thousands of Buffalonians.

    Father Baker has been placed in nomination for sainthood in the Catholic Church, and his influence is felt to this day in Buffalo.

    Pedersen's chapter on the Blizzard of 1977 is interesting, and I like her suggestion for a
    "Western New York holiday gift list: generator, chain saw, wood chipper, carbon monoxide detector, Yaktrax (chains for your shoes), Buffalo Sabres Snuggie."
    If you know what she's talking about, you will appreciate this book. Ethnic festivals, chicken wings, the polka, the disappointing Buffalo Bills, Frank Lloyd Wright, and sponge candy- all of these get their due in this interesting book about the pride of being from Buffalo.

    Buffalo has many designations, the Good Neighbor City among them. Pedersen closes with
    "No, Buffalonians have it right. Join the club and pay your dues. Find others. Celebrate your joys and mourn your losses together. Stick with the herd. Swim with the school. Stay with the flock. And my mother says to wear a hat."
    Pedersen blends humor with history in this love letter to her hometown. In the days when we are all seemingly connected only by the in

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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